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Home arrow newsitems arrow Greek European affairs Minister incoming CoE Chair Varvitsiotes to EF: Program+Turkey ="EU Shield"?

Greek European affairs Minister incoming CoE Chair Varvitsiotes to EF: Program+Turkey ="EU Shield"?

Written by ACM
Monday, 09 March 2020



*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- With an eye towards the Future Development of Human Rights, particularly of Young People (See Infra), but also Firmly anchored in Nowadays GeoPolitical Challenges, and particularly the Urgent Need to Protect EU's External Borders, facing even more Turkey's Smuggling of Mass Asylum Seekers/Irregular migrants, now at Evros river, (See: ..., etc), Experienced Greek Minister for European affairs, former Long-Time Top MEP, Miltiades Varvitsiotes, and incoming CoE's Chairman-in-office, spoke to "Eurofora" in Strasbourg, just after meeting with new CoE's Secretary General Marija Buric, former vice-Prime Minister of Croatia, and ECHR's President Alexandros Sicilianos, on the Draft Program of the forthcoming Greek Presidency of the PanEuropean CoE from May to November 2020, (See Infra).                       


+ Meanwhile, EU Parliament's plenary, (meeting exceptionaly in Brussels, reportedly because of "Coronavirus"' spread in France, after neighbouring Italy), is due to discuss, later this week, Ankara's unprecedented Provocations around Evros' Borders and those (Gas, Stones, Fires, Knives' abusing) Mass Asylum Seekers/Irregular Migrants (mainly from Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc., often more than 13.000 per Day, according to the IOM+) that Turkish Authorities have reportedly Backed (including by Buses' Transports from Istanbul, 1.000 Turkish Security Agents send on the spot, relevant Statements, etc). Turkish President Erdogan already is in Brussels for meetings, since this Monday, just After launching a provocative Call for "Greeks" to "Open the Borders" (sic !) and "let  them go towards Other (EU) Countries" !... On the Contrary, the Greek Government has notoriously decided to stick to its Sovereign Right and Duty to Protect its National and EU's External Borders.



>>> - "Turkey Exploits innocent people, for its Political aims, and in order to Blackmail the EU !", criticized Varvitsiotes Today at Strasbourg, in reply to a relevant "Eurofora"s Question, speaking of a "Stern Denonciation against the Turkish stance" on Evros.

=> Therefore, "CoE" should be very "Careful" on the way that "Human Rights"' approaches might be grossly abused (manipulated) in such cases, and avoid to "fall into a (sly) Trap", he Warned.

>>> "In Front of that, a European Shield has been raised, at EU level", Miltiades Varvitsiotes pointed out.

- Indeed, "the Declarations of all European Institutions' Presidents (EU Commission, Parliament and Council) are Crystal-Clear, last week in Athens". "Justice and Home affairs (JHA) Ministers' declaration, as well as that of Foreign Ministers, is also very clear, as they were formulated". "And it's, moreover, pretty clear, Today's statement by EU's High Representative on Foreign and Security policy, Borel, in view of his meeting with the Turkish President (Erdogan)" in Brussels. So that, "all the Framework of this Resistance and (European) Shield is crystal-clear", he resumed.  

- However, "even if, here or there, might, eventually, be some who don't see well enough all those political facts, we try to Enlighten them, and God help us...", he realistically concluded, with a visible fighting spirit for any relevant Ideological battle whenever necessary...    

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------    echr__light_eurofora_400

+ But, at the same time, Authentic Human Rights issues are at the Forefront of the incoming Greek rotating Presidency of the CoE (May-November 2020), which coincides with the 70th Anniversary since the Signing of its PanEuropean Convention of Human Rights (1950 - 2020), inter alia, also by discussing its "Implementation" until now, as well as in the foreseable Future, according to a Key "Non-Paper", presented Today in Strasbourg to CoE's main Officials, and communicated also to "Eurofora" by the competent Minister Varvitsiotes. In Addition, the Greek Government has already proposed ECHR for the Peace Nobel Prize this year.

- Starting almost at the same Time as EU's exceptional "Conference on Europe's Future" (2020-2021), CoE's Greek Presidency of 5-11/2020 is due to be "Focused mainly on Young People", i.e. Forward looking, turned "towards the Future", Varvitsiotes observed.     

- "We should Cooperate impeccably" with CoE's Secretary General Marija Buric, inter alia, also because "I think that the Greek Presidency's main Priority on Young Generations Fits quite well with those of the CoE itself currently", since the PanEuropean Organisaton "has just (12/2019) outlined a Strategy for the period of 2020-2030" on Youth policy, "so that the fact that a rotating (Committee of Ministers') Presidency intends to Invest into that, is Important", he pointed out.     



=> - For the time being, "We (the Greek CoE's Chairmanship 5-11/2020) have traced 4 Axes in that : (1) First, Young People's involvement into DEMOCRATIC Institutions, their Protection from "Fake News", how to Augment their participation, issues about Artificial Intelligence, etc., and how that forms a Framework of Rights". (2) The Second concerns Problems of VULNERABLE persons : Poverty, Human Trafficking, Sexual Exploitation, UnAccompagnied Minors,  etc. (3) The Third part has to do with CULTURAL HERITAGE and its Protection and Maintenance despite Climate Change, as a Right for Young People to Enjoy that in Future" ; (4) And the Fourth Axis is related to the (CoE's) Charter of SOCIAL RIGHTS, vis a vis Young People".

+ In Parallel, "we also take a View on the Incorporation of ECHR's case-law into Member States", he added, (Comp. Supra), while praising ECHR's President Sicilianos as an "Excellent Jurist", "who contributed a lot" in that Program.

Significant of the Importance that the Greek Presidency attributes to Democratic Participation issues, is also the fact that Varvitsiotes met, Today, with CoE's Director General on Democracy Snezana Markovic, from Serbia, (while the above-mentioned "Non-Paper" adds a Reference also to "Digital" Technologies here, similar to "Eurofora"'s Project).

=> - "I think that all this forms a well-Structured Program, whose Issues, naturally, cannot be solved during a rotating chairmanship, neither exhausted, but they can he Highlighted, and joined to various relevant Initiatives", he concluded.

+ "Inter-Generational Solidarity : Important !"

 - "And, what about Aged People ?", "Eurofora" questioned Varvitsiotes, pointing, f.ex., at a previous EU Campaign in favour of "Inter-Generational Solidarity", (as it was nick-named), which had strived to Bring Together Young and Aged People, Near to eachother".

- In Reply, the Greek Minister slamed the Opposite, counter-example, of a Controversial Satirical Author who had portrayed Aged People as "Vampires", exploiting the Young through the Social Security/Pensions' system, and inciting the Youth to become a kind of "Canibals" against the Aged persons (sic !)...

=> "No", he reacted : On the Contrary, "Inter-Generational Solidarity is an Important matter. Both Politically, and Socially, as well as Substantialy", Varvitsiotes positively stressed to "Eurofora", (i.e. apparently accepting to Include it, in one way or another, inside the wider context of that Greek CoE's Presidency Draft Program).

+ Bio-Ethics : - "Keep an eye" ?

 - About "Childrens' Human Rights", Questioned by "Eurofora" about the current Popular Demonstrations and Protests, in France and elsewhere in the World, on the Controversy concerning the Child's elementary "Right to have a Mother and a Father", (reportedly emanating f.ex. from some UN-related official texts, etc), Opposite to some currently Controversial and UnPopular Attempts for certain Lobbies (f.ex. in France, etc) to exert Pressure on Politicians to accept Dangerous Artificial Births asked by Lesbians, inevitably Exposed to manifold Dangers of Genetic Manipulations, etc.,  Varvitsiotes carefully but positively Replied that, in principle, "we don't enter into such Issues", "But we Open spaces for Debate, where they could be Discussed, together with others"...         

+ Concerning "Bio-Ethics" in General, despite the currently "Hot" and Topical dimension of several among those Issues, (f.ex. on Heritable Genetic Editing, transmissible also to Future Generations, See: ..., etc), nevertheless, as things stand now (i.e. with that Draft "Non-Paper" on the incoming Greek CoE's Presidency's main "Priorities", drafted mainly by Ambassador Beglites in Strasbourg, as he told "Eurofora", in cooperation wtth several CoE's Officials, etc), "it appears Difficult" to include them inside that Draft Plan, Varvitsiotes acknowledged. However, given the Importance of the Issues, as well as his genuine personal Interest, that he had already shown while serving as Top MEP in CoE's Parliamentary Assembly during a Long Time), - "We shall Keep an Eye", whenever something really Important might emerge, during the (Greek CoE's Committee of Ministers) Presidency, he promised...











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Hu Jia's prize brings SAKHAROV's wife to "EuroFora" on murders of Journalists Politkofskaya, Gongadze and Adali :

- Elena Bonner : "All Journalists' murders must be fully investigated", without Double Standards.                                                                                    

During a special Mega-Event to celebrate 20 Years of SAKHAROV Prize for "Freedom of Thought", attributed in 2008 by EU Parliament to jailed Chinese Cyber-Dissident Hu JIA, the move was reinforced by strongly criticizing the persisting impunity in three cases of Journalists' Murders, such as POLITKOVSKAYA in Russia, GONGADZE in Ukraine, and ADALI in Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

Any bureaucratic doubt about whether Cyber-dissidents like Hu JIA might have, or not, a right to be protected as all Journalists must be, particularly when they take risks to search, find and publish original and critical News on issues of general interest to the society, could not resist to the emotion provoked by the message of his Wife, Zeng JINYAN spectacularly transmitted at a big screen in EU Parliament's hemicycle :

- "The most important and most interesting thing he did was to ... say the Truth :.. to write about the phenomena he observed... He never stopped Publishing.. on websites, so that the Public could learn about the reality .. and understand it.  In my view, this has been his greatest contribution", stressed the young wife of the jailed man, eager to cite also the cases of other critical journalists who faced various kinds of "harassment".

 - "Welcoming all those who have suffered for defending Human Rights", EU Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert POETTERING, who had invited to Strasbourg all former Sakharov prize-winners from various Countries throughout the World, said that "China needs Europe, and Europe needs China : A great nation" with which "we want to have a good relationship", "association and ..friendship". "But we are never going to stop our fight for Human Rights, and No Government can expect this from us".

    - "It's impossible  to achieve goals of Peace, if Human Rights are left out. In fact, Peace and Human Rights are intrinsequaly linked", added POETTERING.

    It's in this spirit that MEPs adopted, on Thursday, a Resolution denouncing that "the criminal
investigation and trial following the murder of (a) Journalist ...raises serious concerns with regard to transparency and respect for the rule of law", when a "brutal killing has not yet been fully investigated and solved in a satisfactory way".

    The text refered to dissident Journalist "Anna POLITOVSKAYA", a critic of Tchechen conflict, killed some years ago in Moscow, where Russian Authorities have found, arrested and are currently judging two executants, while also searching to arrest also a 3rd one, allegedly escaped in Belgium. But they have not yet found the instigators.

     Similar texts were adopted recently also on dissident Ukranian Journalist Georgiy GONGADZE's murder, for which Ukranian Authorities have at least found, arrested and condemned 2 executants to 12 and 13 Years of jail, but not yet the instigators. For that purpose, they recently accepted an International Experts team to participate to the investigations.     

But, it's only for the Murder of dissident Turkish Cypriot Journalist ADALI, in the occupied territories of Cyprus, that Turkey has NOT yet found ANYONE responsible, and even claimed recently inside CoE that it would be "impossible" to do so !    

These astonishing differences exist despite the fact that ECHR condemned alike Ukraine and Turkey with 2 Judgements on the same year : 2005, for the murders of  Journalists GONGADZE and ADALI, strong critics of Corruption in Ukraine, and of Ankara's policies on mass-influx of Turkish Settlers in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, respectively.    

Regarless of that, CoE's Committee of Ministers, who is entrusted with the duty to supervise execution of ECHR's judgements, has just asked Ukraine's Government to reply to further questions on Gongadze's murder before March 2009, while Turkey, curiously, got a longer postponement for answering questions on Adali's murder, until June...   

A comparison of these cases, raises serious questions about Double Standards :


    On Gongadze's murder, CoE's body speaks even about the participation of
"an INTERNATIONAL group of Experts" in the Investigation, (f.ex. of "Tape Recordings"), accepted by Ukraine.
    On the contrary, on Adali's murder, CoE is obliged to repeatedly ask (for a 2nd
time) Turkey whether, at least, it informed the victims' Family, or not...
On Gongadze's murder, CoE formally "recalls that the Committee (of Ministers) ..URGED the Ukranian authorities.. to TAKE ALL NECESSARY INVESTIGATIVE STEPS TO ACHIEVE CONCRETE and VISIBLE RESULTS in the INVESTIGATION, aimed at the Identification of the INSTIGATORS and Organisers of the Murder", and "STRONGLY INVITED the Ukranian Authorities to provide information on the PROGRESS IN THE INVESTIGATION", before MARCH 2009.

But, on Adali's murder, on the contrary, CoE's body merely .. "took note" of the "arguments presented by" Cyprus, which denounce the absence of any proof of new "investigation" by Turkey. Following Turkey's own suggestion (!), it simply "noted" that there is "no limitation period" for "any new element" to "lead potentialy (sic !) to a Re-Opening of the Investigation". Without saying who might find any such "new" fact, since Turkey stoped searching... It also POSTPONED the issue until .. JUNE  !
 -  On Gongadze's murder case, Ukranian Authorities already arrested and condemned, at least 2 suspects, to 12 and 13 Years of jail. And on Politkovskaya's murder at least 2 suspects are judged, and a 3rd one "wanted".

On the contrary, on Adali's murder case, the Turkish authorities simply claim that "it had not been possible to obtain new .. information .. on the basis of which criminal charges could be brought against ANY person" !...

Moreover,  a LETTER sent by Turkey ...2 Years after CoE's 2006 call to re-investigate anew Adali's murder case, is totally EMPTY of Facts ! As Cypus' Delegation denounced earlier, Turkey's Letter ONLY CLAIMS that a "New Investigation" was made without any result, but does NOT even cite ANY FACT to prove it :

F.ex.,on the crucial issue of the "MOTIVATIONS" behind Adali's murder, noted by ECHR, Turkey MERELY CLAIMS that "all allegations  were investigated; without result", but OMITS ANY FACT TO PROVE IT !..(It doesn't even remind which were these "allegations").. .

+ On ECHR's astonishment that the Turkish Occupation regime didn't produce any "BALLISTIC REPORT" on the Shots which murdered Adali, Turkey again repeats, 12 years later, that, still, even until now, "it  was not possible to obtain the BalisticReport"...

- As for the astonishing absence of key-WITNESSES' Testimonies, denounced by ECHR, Turkey agains repeats various pretexts avoiding to reveal anything, (Fex. that a person "left" the Occupied Territories  "on 2002", or that another witness was heard, but without revealing nothing of what he said, etc).

Turkey obviously "FAILS TO MEET THE CRITICISM made BY THE COURT" for lack of any efficient Investigation in Adali's case, concluded Cyprus' Government.
Replying to our Question which COMPARED these 3 outstanding cases of "JOURNALISTS MURDERS", Adali, Gongadze and Politkovskaya, in order to avoid "Double Standards" by asking from Ukraine and Russia more than what is asked EU candidate Turkey, many European personalities were critical /

They criticised Ankara's recent claim at the CoE to stop investigating, because it would be "impossible to find anyone" responsible for the 5 bullet shots which killed Kutlu ADALI in front of his Family Home, contrary to the other two Journalists' murders, where Ukraine and Russia at least arrested the executants, searching now for the instigators :


    - "Where was that ? In Turkish Occupied Cyprus ? WITHOUT ANY DOUBT : Any murder of Journalist should be investigated in full ! All these Murders must be investigated !", replied the famous SAKHAROV's wife, Elena BONNER to our question on Adali's case, compared to Gongadze and Politofskaya.

    Elena Bonner spoke us EXCLUSIVELY shortly after being honored by the President
of EU Parliament on the occasion of 20 Years of her husband's SAKHAROV Prize.

    A strong personality, Sakharov's wife even had to struggle against an anonymous EU staffer who, astonishingly, tried to stop her speaking when h heard our question on "Turkey" (!) : - "Please, let me translate, she continues
speaking, don't stop us !", had to cry Sakharov's daughter, (a Journalist
herself), who was translating her mothers' reply, (obliged to speak louder to
make her voice heard despite the harassment).. (= + Audio Proof !)

    Earlier, Elena Bonner also fustigated "Double Standards" at another case, on
Western countries' attitude vis a vis Kosovo and the Kurds : -F.ex. "You have
recognized a few 400.000 Kosovars as an "independent" country, but you still
deny that to 30 millions of Kurds in Turkey !", she denounced.
    - "This (ADALI's murder) is an issue which should be pursued by the Committee
for Human Rights. That's why we have one, and it's its duty to examine cases of
Journalists' murders as the one you referred to. You should bring the case in
front of that Committee", suggested in reply to our question on Adali, EU
Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert POETTERING.

    - "It's impossible  to achieve goals of PEACE, if HUMAN RIGHTS are left out :
in fact, Peace and Human Rights are intrinsequaly linked", added POETTERING.
    + "For us (European/International Federation of Journalists) it's clear :
Whenever a Journalist is Murdered, the Investigation should continue until
those Responsible are found !", replied earlier to another question on ADALI
EFJ/IFJ's Secretary General, Aidan WHITE.

    Speaking as a matter of General Principle, White asked us for "concrete data"
on the execution of ECHR's judgement on Adali case, in order to "look at it in
depth" and "make a formal statement", in comparison with the other Murdered
Journalist case, also pending at CoE's  Ministers for completing its execution,
on Ukranian Gongadze.
     From EU Rapporteur on Human Rights, vice-President of EU Parliament Liberties' Committee, MEP Giusto CATANIA, we were told that, since there is an ECHR judgement in both Adali and Gongadge's cases, "Turkey must naturally execute the judgement and make a full and efficient investigation, until those responsible for the Journalist's murder are found and punished".

    Even if "we (Catania's "EuroLeft" Group) support Turkey's EU perspectives, this does not mean that Ankara should not behave properly. On the contrary, it means that they have to meet tough conditions, particularly on Human Rights", was added on the occasion of Adali's murder case.

    Moreover, "since you raise the issue of Mr. Adali's muder as a part of a Series of Journalist's murders, including fex. Gongadze, Politkovskaya, ao., tthen we (EU) could also act together with CoE's Commissioner on Human Rights, Thomas HAMMARBERG, it was suggested.

    - "We (EU) must step up efforts against the problem of IMPUNITY : Real Peace cannot exist without Justice",  stressed also this week at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, French Minister on Human Rights, Mrs Rama YADE.


2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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